The Baron des Cévennes, an association of passionate breeders
The Baron des Cévennes is a collective adventure to promote a French local product of excellence.
To know more about the excellence of the production of Baron des Cévennes, we had the pleasure to visit the farming of French breeder Michel Delafoy, owner of the Figueirole farm in Fons-sur-Lussan, together with Chloé Lefort, communication manager of the association.
Today, the association includes ten producers spread across the Occitanie region, covering an area that complies with the specifications, from Goudargues to Quissac and La Canourgue.
It was on the Garrigues plateau in Fons-sur-Lussan, at an altitude of 360 metres, that Michel Delafoy chose to set up in 2015. A former nuclear engineer at Marcoule, Michel Delafoy found his farm at Figueirole the perfect setting for a successful career change, after training in mixed farming and livestock rearing, and a few months with one of the founding breeders of the Baron des Cévennes, Chantal Foubet.
This summer, Michel Delafoy will be handing over his farm of pure-bred Duroc free-range pigs to a young couple. The farm, which extends over almost 7 hectares of fenced parkland surrounded by oak, caddis, broom and box trees, will be complemented by other activities, including a honey factory.
The Baron des Cévennes association is gaining increasing recognition. When was the association created?
The association was created in 2013, and the very first production dates from 2015.
It was founded mainly out of a need to protect the know-how of our farmers and to promote a high-quality product, with all producers complying with strict specifications, from respect for the land where the farms are located (with mainly oak and chestnut trees) to the processing of the products.
The association also guarantees a range of quality products: dry-cured ham, sausage, dry sausage, rolled bacon, terrines or pâtés, etc.
What's more, the farmers currently have 50 pigs per hectare, but we're aiming for 20 per hectare, another step towards excellence.
In fact, we have ten members, including one organic farmer, Frédéric Mazer's GAEC Le Ranquet in Corbès. Our association is a project for the future shared by all our breeders, in the knowledge that each farmer is totally autonomous in terms of marketing (between the Cévennes, Causses and Piedmont), essentially through direct sales.
We also regularly welcome young people on work-linked training schemes (from the French MFR, for example) or primary or secondary school classes to our farms. This is an opportunity to talk about our work, to pass on the richness of the land and the value of hard work and, why not, create a passion.
There has been a marked increase in projects from future young farmers. Stay tuned!
We're betting on quality, with stringent internal controls. The newcomers are 100% aware of the investment needed to obtain good products. This starts with the piglets born in the farrowing unit on certain farms, such as the Figueirole farm (photo above), which are not separated from their mothers until they are two months old, and continues with rearing on the various Baron des Cévennes farms. Feeding is therefore also closely monitored.
Your producers rear red-coated Duroc pigs, a breed that originated in the United States, and Duroc/black pig crosses... How did you select these breeds?
The excellence of these pigs needs no further demonstration. Their robustness and the quality of their flesh, which is less fatty than that of the Gascogne breed, make them the value of our registered trademark.
How long does it take for the pigs from your farms to reach full maturity?
It takes at least a year. Not to mention that the pigs have to reach a weight of 100 kg for fresh products and 130 kg for charcuterie. Three of our farmers process and prepare their own charcuterie on site. Otherwise, we work with two butcher partners, including the Cabrol La Salvetat traditional charcuterie workshop, founded in 1900. And this collaboration is growing, as is the marketing of our products.
Did you know?
Some of the trees on the Baron des Cévennes farms are geolocated, to monitor their growth,
their adaptation to the terrain in the case of planting and to protect them from the impact of pigs.
Where can I find your products in Occitanie?
Let's start with the Mas des agriculteurs, La ferme du Cantal and Les Halles de Nîmes as part of a partnership with Didier Champeix (a butcher and member of Baron des Cévennes), and also the Maison du mieux manger in Caissargues...
The association won an award for its fresh butcher's sausage, and took part in the "Miam" gastronomy and local produce show at Alès 2022. These events give us greater visibility and enable us to prospect more widely, particularly at national level.
Many thanks to Chloé Lefort, communications manager and coordinator of the Baron des Cévennes breeders' collective, and to Michel Delafoy, owner of Ferme de Figueirole, for their collaboration on this article and the visuals sent (births at Ferme de Figueirole©Michel Delafoy).
The right address: La ferme de Figueirole, chemin de Figueirole, 30580 Fons sur Cévennes, France.